To be invited to compete at a regional level is a notch in the belt. To win the gold is a major achievement! The gold medal winning chef then has the opportunity to go on to compete at the national finale – The Canadian Culinary Championships – this year on to be staged on February 1st and 2nd, 2019 in Kelowna, British Columbia. Only one chef wins and to be crowned the top chef in Canada is a career changer!
James Chatto, national head judge and culinary advisor, oversees the selection and judging process of the more than 100 competing chefs, each vying for that coveted trophy. This year’s winner – Chef Alex Chen, from Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar in Vancouver, paired his final winning dish with Sea Star 2016 Ortega from Pender Island, BC and is the Canadian Culinary Champion for 2018.
The selection and invitation process for the Gold Medal Plates regional competitions occurs in the spring of every year. The chefs who are chosen are invited to create their ultimate dish and pair it with a premier Canadian wine, beer or spirit. A team of food and wine critics from each city work with national critics to determine the top three winning creations and then a gold, silver and bronze medal-winning chef is crowned.
At the regional competitions, the chef’s dishes are judged out of 100 with points given to visual presentation, texture, technical achievement, taste, beverage compatibility and wow factor. At the Canadian Culinary Championships, the stakes are higher with three competitions: The Mystery Wine Pairing, The Black Box and The Grand Finale. It’s an exhausting, rewarding and life changing experience for the chefs.
Mystery Wine: Chefs are given a mystery bottle of wine and must create a dish with local ingredients that best complements the mysterious vintage, in a set amount of time and with a set budget. For the guests, it is fascinating to taste each of the unique dishes with the same mystery wine.
The Black Box
The Black Box: One of the most exciting parts to the competition! Chefs are given only ten minutes, and a black box containing a small array of diverse foods from across Canada and must produce and plate a spectacular dish for the national judges. All in one very short hour! Guests get an Iron Chef type competition experience…and are right in the kitchen where all the action is!
The Grand Finale
The Grand Finale: On the final night of competition, anything goes. Chefs create their best dish for guests to sample, paired with a great wine from their regional winery partner.
Don’t miss out on enjoying the talent of all the Gold Medal Plates medalists in each city and the Canadian Culinary Championships medalists. For a listing of local winners for this year and prior years go to each city’s information and for national winners, the Canadian Culinary Championships.